Is The Super Ambassador Luau At PCC Worth The Money?

The Polynesian Cultural Center is one of the most popular activities in Oahu. I’ve been to the Polynesian Cultural Center FOUR times and I still find myself learning so much about Polynesian history and customs every time I visit.

When you’re there, you have a choice on the number of activities you partake in.

With Polynesian Cultural Center’s Ali’i Luau Package, you’ll not only get a delicious luau dinner with live entertainment but also admission to the Islands of Polynesia area. With the right tickets, you’ll also be able to watch the epic nighttime entertainment show, Hā: Breath of Life, which is NOT to be missed. It’s so good!

But you can still level up from there. Yep, there’s the Super Ambassador Package, which I tried out for the first time on my latest visit to PCC.

Is it worth the money? What do you actually get that’s so much better than the Ali’i Luau Package? How’s the food? What does the private tour guide actually do?

Below, I’ll share my entire Super Ambassador experience with you and we’ll dive into all of your most burning questions, too!

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

What To Expect With The Super Ambassador Package At PCC

When you’re at PCC, get ready for a sensory overload. If you opt for the Super Ambassador Package, your day will include:

  • a private guided tour through 6 island villages that make up the Islands Of Polynesia experience (from ~12:30 pm – 5:30 pm)
  • the Aliʻi Lūʻau Buffet with live entertainment + a flower lei greeting at the lūʻau (seating begins at 4:40 pm, luau is from 5:00 – 6:30 pm)
  • Exclusive Platinum level seating at “HĀ: Breath of Life” evening show (the best seating in the front two rows! Show is from 7:30 – 8:45 pm)
Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador Package - Private Tour Guide
Us with our sweet, private tour guide, Matiria!

You’ll also get the following perks:

  • Kukui nut lei greeting
  • Reserved seating at all village presentations
  • Free digital souvenir photo
  • Reserved Canoe tour just for the Super Ambassadors
  • Free Smoothie at Aliʻi Lūʻau
  • Free 3-day pass to the island villages (after initial visit)

Let’s do a quick breakdown of each experience throughout the day.

VIP Check In

Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador VIP Check In Area
The VIP Check-In Area. Free water + snacks too!

Upon arrival, you’ll trade in your purchase confirmation for actual tickets at the entrance. You’ll get three sets of tickets — one for the Islands of Polynesia, another for the Ali’i Luau Buffet, and another for the HĀ: Breath of Life show (the tickets have your assigned seats on them).

From there, you’ll be told to head to the Islands of Polynesia to start your guided tour. Once you’re there, you’ll be taken to the VIP Check-In area, where your guide will be assigned.

While we were waiting for our guide to get things sorted, we were told to grab as much water/snacks as we’d like for our day.

There were fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, and other packaged goodies that kids would really enjoy.

Islands of Polynesia

Polynesian Cultural Center Poi Ball Demonstration

At the Islands of Polynesia, you’ll find a wide variety of interactive exhibits, replica Polynesian villages, and hourly spotlight shows featuring traditional rituals, music/dance performances, tree climbing, and even fireknife dancing!

You’ll find a ton of hands-on activities such as learning how to do a Tahitian dance, learning how to twirl poi balls, making fire the Samoan way, tasting coconut bread, tasing poi, and so much more.

The immersive, hands-on aspect is what’s coolest about the Islands of Polynesia. It’s a great place to experience what it’s like to have lived on these islands because you can take part in so many activities that are unique to each island.

Our private tour guide started off our visit by asking us which islands we’d like to prioritize with our time there. Since we showed up a bit later during the day, we weren’t able to start our tour until 2:15pm, which meant we only had about 3 hours to explore before the luau portion began.

Since Papu and I had been there before, we knew we wanted our first-timer friends to experience Aotearoa and Samoa for sure. We also wanted to fit in a canoe ride as well as some Tahitian dancing, which our tour guide took note of.

She created an itinerary for us on the spot, which ended up taking us through all the villages. We were able to catch the 30-minute cultural presentations at Aotearoa and Samoa, while also trying out some of the fun hands-on activities at the remainder of the villages.

With the Super Ambassador Package, you get reserved front-row seating at all of the cultural presentations which was awesome. The seats will literally have your name on them!

Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador Reserved Seating

Without the Super Ambassador Package, you’d have to show up to snag seats super early, which digs into your free time to explore and try hands-on activities. During prior visits where we didn’t have Super Ambassador status, we’ve had to watch a lot of the shows standing or with pretty terrible seats under the sun.

When we weren’t watching shows, our guide was teaching us things about the Polynesian islands, answering all of our most burning questions about Polynesian culture, and taking us around to do hands-on activities at the different villages.

During our three hours, we were able to enjoy the following activities with our guide right beside us the whole time:

  • Aotearoa cultural presentation (30-minute show)
  • Samoa cultural presentation (30-minute show)
  • Tried Tahitian dancing (Tahiti)
  • Tried hiko, the art of juggling (Tonga)
  • Tried poi and coconut bread (Hawaii and Tahiti)
  • Played traditional games (Hawaii)
  • Learned to twirl the Poi Waeroa (Aotearoa)
  • … we would have loved to do more had we shown up earlier!
Polynesian Cultural Center Hands On Activities

With each activity, she explained the significance of it in a way that really allowed us to picture life back in time. It definitely made the entire experience way more enriching than if we did everything on our own!

For example, had we done a self-guided trip through the villages, we never would have learned about the little intricacies of Queen Salote’s Summer Home and how seashells by a door meant that the door was only meant for royalty.

PCC - Replica of the Queen Salote's Summer Home

At one point during the day, we rode our reserved Super Ambassador canoe over to one of the islands, which was nice because we didn’t have to wait in line at all for it!

Polynesian Cultural Center Canoe Ride

Other daytime activities at PCC

Outside of the six village areas, you can do a bunch of other stuff in the daytime including:

  • shopping in the large Hukilau Marketplace
  • see the Football Hall of Fame
  • watch a cinematic movie showcasing the beauty of the Hawaiian islands
  • go on a canoe ride
  • grab a bite to eat (at Ali’i Luau, Gateway Buffet, or at Hukilau Marketplace)
  • take a tour of La’ie and BYU

The Ali’i Luau with live entertainment

Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador Ali'i Luau Package

At around 5pm, we headed over to the Ali’i Luau area to get our grub on. At this point, your tour guide will say goodbye to you for the night!

The Ali’i Luau is a traditional luau set up, where a couple hundred people will attend and dine around the main stage. When you arrive, you’ll get lei’ed and have the option to take a group pic (for purchase).

Upon getting seated, you’ll get a fun little welcome drink! Ours was a non-alcoholic pina colada inside of a pineapple. The food is served buffet-style for about 30 minutes before the entertainment begins.

In terms of food, you can expect typical luau buffet-style food such as taro rolls, poke, kalua pork (from a pig cooked onsite IN the ground), pan-seared local fish, teriyaki brisket, huli chicken, fried saimin, salads, assorted fruits, and desserts.

Honestly, the food was REALLY good! Having done the luau back in 2015ish and in 2024, I found the food to be immensely better than when I first went years ago! I went with three other people (two are really judgy and picky when it comes to food) and we all agreed the food was pretty darn good for being a buffet-style meal.

The entertainment usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes and is comprised of a mix of professional performers (hula dancers and young kiddies) and bits where the host is calling people up to the stage to dance.

Free time from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Polynesian Cultural Center Luau Review - Is It Worth The Money

Between the luau and the evening show, you’ll have about 1 hour to kill. Prior to leaving us, our tour guide gave us some ideas on what to fill our time with.

With the free hour that we had, we decided to start by watch the 14-minute cinematic experience at the Hawaiian Journey theater, which basically showcases the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands through film.

From there, we did a little strolling/shopping through the Hukilau Marketplace, which was conveniently located next to the theater for the evening show.

If that doesn’t interest you, you could also take a ukelele lesson, take the tram tour through La’ie and Brigham Young University, or chat up the workers to learn even more about Polynesian culture.

Polynesian Cultural Center Luau Review - Is It Worth The Money

Hā: Breath of Life evening show

Regardless of your dinner choice, the one thing at the Polynesian Cultural Center that you absolutely can’t miss is the evening show, Hā: Breath of Life. The show starts at 7:30pm.

And with the Super Ambassador Package, you get front and center seating at the Hā: Breath of Life show.

This show is truly entertaining! I don’t want to give any spoilers, but you can expect a lot of dancers and performers, a good plot, lots of acting, and fireknife dancing!

The evening show featuring over 100 Polynesian natives, special effects, animation and surround sound. You’ll see all sorts of dancing styles based on different Polynesian cultures, which is great if you weren’t able to catch all the cultural presentations at the Islands of Polynesia.

I gotta mention the fireknife dancing section of the show. PURE AMAZEMENT!

If you want more details about what you’ll see during the show, continue reading. If not, just head to the next section!

The Story of Hā: Breath of Life:
  • Plot: On a perilous night, fleeing from their home to an unfamiliar island, a man and woman bring their first child into the world. He is named “Mana”. He grows and learns lifelong values from his family and community.
  • Birth (Tonga): Friendly Tongan villagers welcome newborn Mana and his parents.
  • Childhood (Hawaii): Mana’s birthday is celebrated with a joyful Hawaiian lu’au.
  • Growing Up (Aotearoa): As Mana learns the way of the Māori people, he becomes a man.
  • Love (Samoa): Exploring new villages and new people, Mana finds true love.
  • Marriage (Tahiti): Mana’s marriage, like the Rahitian art of pearl diving, requires Mana and his fiance to be all in.
  • Family (Fiji): Preparing to become a father in his Fijian village, Mana experiences the inevitable tribulations of life.

Islands of Polynesia: The Six Villages

To give you a better idea of how to spend your afternoon, let’s breakdown the different villages that make up the Islands of Polynesia.

Polynesian Cultural Center - Oahu Things To Do

There are six villages at the Polynesian Cultural Center: Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Hawaii. Each village has its own history and customs, as illustrated via the interactive island cultural presentations and hands-on activities.

One of the coolest aspects of visiting the villages of PCC is that most of the people staffing each village are actually from the island they’re representing!

Here’s what you can expect from each of the islands.


Polynesian Cultural Center - Islands Of Polynesia Samoa

Samoans are known throughout Polynesia as the “happy people”! Samoans are famous for their cooking skills as well as fireknife dances. You can experience both of these skills at the Samoan Village.

Since Papu is half Samoan, we always like spending a little extra time in this village.

I’d highly recommend catching the cultural presentation that takes place multiple times per hour. It’s SO funny, and if you catch the later shows (around 4pm and after) you’ll even catch some really impressive fireknife dancing!

Activities include:

  • Weaving your own fish with coconut leaves
  • Learning how to spin a fire knife
  • Making fire the Samoan way (without matches!)
  • Coconut shell dance


Polynesian Cultural Center - Fiji Islands Of Polynesia

Fijians may be most famous for their skills in battle, but they are also wonderful singers and makers of clay pottery. This is definitely a very energetic and exciting village to visit!

Activities include:

  • Discovering how coconut oil is made
  • Learning about an authentic Camakau (Fijian outrigger canoe)
  • Learn to play the derua (bamboo instrument)
  • Getting a washable Fijian warrior tattoo
  • Make your own Kesakesa Pattern


Polynesian Cultural Center Review - Is It Worth The Money?

If you’re at PCC and you hear drumming in the distance, chances are it’s coming from Tongan village. This area is a ton of fun, as you’ll get to try your hand at a lot of activities such as spear-throwing and even paddling in an outrigger canoe.

The canoes here are NOT on a track, so you’ll actually have to paddle to get moving! For a more leisurely canoe ride where you can just sit back and relax, hop on the 20-person canoe ride instead.

The cultural presentation at Tonga is a lot of fun, as there’s a lot of focus on dance, music, the Nafa (drums), and cultural core values.

Activities include:

  • Paddling in a Tongan-inspired outrigger canoe (my personal fave!)
  • Trying lafo (Tongan shuffle board), an ancient royal game
  • Touring a replica of the Queen Salote’s Summer Home
  • Weaving a windmill from coconut leaves
  • Trying your hand at hiko, the ancient art of juggling
  • Learning Nafa-drumming


On top of showcasing the dancing skills that they’re so famously known for, you’ll also get to learn about other aspects of Tahitian culture such as love and marriage, fishing and cooking.

You’ll find multiple types of cultural presentations at the Tahiti area throughout the day. At the time of writing, there’s the Intro to French Polynesia, Rhythms of the Islands, and the Tahitian Wedding Ceremony.

I’ve personally seen the wedding ceremony show at it’s great!

Activities include:

  • Tasting handmade coconut bread
  • Fishing in the lagoon with bamboo poles
  • Learning how to dance the Ori Tahiti
  • Get a washable Tahitian tattoo
  • Spear throwing
  • Witness a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony

Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Aotearoa - Polynesian Cultural Center Oahu

Aotearoa (The Land of the Long White Cloud) is the home of the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Māori people are known for their elaborately carved meeting houses as well as their dancing, including the Haka which many of you may have already seen without knowing it at some point in your lives!

No matter when we’re at PCC, we always try to make it a point to catch the Aotearoa cultural presentations — I love watching their high-energy singing and dancing performances. Plus, getting to see the haka performed is always so moving.

Activities include:

  • Twirling the double-long Poi (ball on end of string)
  • Try the Kapo Rākau to help you quicken your reflexes and reaction time
  • Testing your hand-eye coordination skills with Titi-torea (Maori stick game)
  • Exploring replicas of an ancient dwelling site, ancestral meeting house, Māori war canoe, and more


Hawaiians are great storytellers, and at the Hawaiian village, you’re going to hear a lot about not only the beauty of their islands but the beauty of their culture as well. 

Our favorite activities here and taking the hula lessons and trying the freshly made poi! If you’re a fan of hula dancing, do not miss their cultural presentation, The Sound of Hula.

Activities include:

  • Practicing Hawaiian hula
  • Watching how poi is made (and then tasting it for yourself!)
  • See all of the beautiful items that can be made with lauhala
  • Try your hand at traditional Hawaiian games of skill
  • Traditional net throwing
  • Get a washable Hawaiian tattoo

Iosepa Learning Center

Don’t forget to head to the corner of the Hawaiian village, where you’ll find the Iosepa Canoe and Learning Center. The canoe is a working replica of a traditional Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging canoe, and it’s MASSIVE.

We found that it was so awe-inspiring being that close to it, imagining what life would have been like in the past, traveling on such a massive yet traditional watercraft!

While you’re here, you can also learn a bunch of things, including:

  • learning how to make ropes with coconut husks
  • learning how to navigate by the stars
  • learn about the wood species used to build canoes
  • Building wooden canoe puzzles
  • learning how to tie sailing knots

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Rapa Nui - Polynesian Cultural Center - The Perfect Oahu Itinerary

This smaller island exhibit in the center of the villages features seven hand-carved moai, or stone statues, created onsite by artisans from Rapa Nui.

There are no activities in this area, but there sure is a lot to learn via the interpretive signs detailing the Rapa Nui history.

Bottom Line: Is The Super Ambassador Package Worth It?

Let’s quickly compare the prices of the two Luau Packages:

In this blog post, I did the math and established how PCC’s Aliʻi Lūʻau Package is worth the money. So now the question is whether the upgrade to Super Ambassador is worth it.

If you ask me, the Super Ambassador Package is totally worth it if you fall into one of these categories:

  • You are a first-timer who knows absolutely nothing about Polynesian culture and heritage
  • You are celebrating something special (like a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, etc.)
  • You are traveling with a larger family of (mostly) adults and want someone to guide you through the massive property
  • You find value in the reserved seating at the cultural shows throughout the day
  • You value your time (instead of showing up early to shows to reserve seats, you can explore freely)
  • You want to get the best possible seats at Hā: Breath of Life

The Super Ambassador Package might not be for you if:

  • You’re visiting with a lot of kids — the $75 price jump from Ali’i Luau to Super Ambassador might not be worth it for kids if they’re not interested in learning or priority seating.

For me, here are the elements of the Super Ambassador Package that make this experience SO worth the money:

Your private tour guide

While having a private tour guide was weird to me at first, we actually found it to be very helpful given how much information we learned throughout the day.

Since Papu and I had been to PCC multiple times in the past (whereas the two others we were with were first-timers), we would have basically played tour guide to them had we not had Matiria.

But since we had Matiria as our guide, Papu and I were able to chill and enjoy PCC too! We ended up learning so much about life back in the day, ancient dwellings, Polynesian royalty, and voyaging canoes.

While we would have managed fine without a tour guide, we were able to get random facts about what we were seeing and experiencing, which added to the overall experience.

Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador Package

Reserved seating at the cultural presentations

Having reserved seating at all of the cultural shows in the villages was so useful and perhaps one of my favorite parts of this premium experience.

Without the Super Ambassador Package’s reserved seating, we would have had to show up to each presentation about 20 minutes early to snag seats.

This would ultimately cut into our free time of doing hands-on activities. During prior visits where we didn’t have Super Ambassador status, we’ve had to watch a lot of the shows standing or with seats far in the back or even under the sun.

Polynesian Cultural Center Aotearoa Cultural Presentation
This is how close up we were at the cultural presentations thanks to the reserved seating.

Platinum seating at Hā: Breath of Life

I have bad eyes, so having Platinum-level seats meant we were front and center during the whole performance.

PCC doesn’t have a film crew projecting all the action on larger screens, so having close-up seating was ideal.

Kukui nut lei and flower lei

One of the most fun experiences you can have as a first-timer in Hawaii is getting lei’ed. I remember getting lei’ed as a 6th grader when I first went to Maui, and it remains one of the fondest memories I have from that trip.

My cousin, as the first-timer he was, really wanted the lei experience. With the Super Ambassador Package, you get not one, but TWO leis throughout your day at PCC — once upon arrival and once right before you get seated for the luau.

If you value this kind of experience (which is especially memorable for Hawaii first-timers), then I think the Super Ambassador Package is awesome for that.

Polynesian Cultural Center Super Ambassador Package Luau

Everything else!

You get free water and snacks at the VIP Check-in Area, a reserved canoe ride so that you don’t need to waste time waiting in the general admission line, and a free digital photo.

All in all, if you think forking up $95 extra dollars for these perks is worth it, then the Super Ambassador Package is for you. If not, opting for the Aliʻi Lūʻau Package is probably good enough!

🎟️ Book your Polynesian Cultural Center tickets on the official site here.

What’s Not Included With The Super Ambassador Package

Free souvenir photos. You only get the digital download of ONE photo, as opposed to the printed photo that they take at the luau. (They’ll try to sell this to you after the luau.)

Transportation to and from your hotel in Waikiki. This costs extra and you can add it onto your ticket purchase when you buy advance tickets.

Essential Tips For Your Visit To The Polynesian Cultural Center

  • Arrive early! And we mean it! You will need all of the hours PCC is open in order to see everything in the Islands of Polynesia area. (This is the exact reason I’ve gone 3 times–I’ve always gone later in the day and ran out of time to explore.)
  • Take advantage of the transportation option from Waikiki if you aren’t renting a car for the duration of your trip. This costs extra and can be purchased online along with your ticket.
  • You will walk a lot (several miles worth of walking), so wear comfortable shoes–you can go with comfortable walking shoes or supportive sandals.
  • It can get very hot during the summer months so make sure you pack plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Bring a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  • Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times; no swimsuits.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat! The Polynesian Cultural Center is mostly outdoors with grassy fields. The cultural demonstration shows do have shaded seating, but some of it can be in the sun (depending on time of day and whether you can get a seat or not).
  • When an island/village is putting on its cultural presentation (usually about 30 minutes long), the village activities there will not be held. You have two choices here–either watch the main show or visit other villages until they resume their activities once the show is over.
  • Island villages close at around 5:30 pm to allow visitors who opted in for the luau to eat before the evening show (seating starts at 7 pm).
  • For those visiting with very young children who may also be jetlagged: the evening show runs from about 7:30-9 pm Hawaii time. This can be really late depending on what your home time is, especially for those who are dealing with a large time change. Do carefully consider whether or not your kid can make it through the show without being too fussy and disrupting others’ viewing experience.
  • Be aware that strobe lights and sudden loud noises are used in the show.

Polynesian Cultural Center: Frequently Asked Questions

What do you wear to the Polynesian Cultural Center?

First off, wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking over the course of the day, so you’ll want good support for your feet.

Next, because it will likely be hot and sunny, plan to wear comfortable clothes and a hat for sun protection.

While there is no requirement to look fancy or done up, for the ladies and fellas who want to dress up a bit for the luau, flowy dresses and light linen shirts/pants will do.

How long does it take to do the Polynesian Cultural Center?

Honestly, it could take the whole day from the time the park opens until the park closes.

The park typically opens around the early afternoon and closes at 9 pm.

For the best experience in the island villages, plan to spend five hours there alone. If you have tickets to the luau and evening show, plan on being there until 9 pm.

What’s better: the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau or Paradise Cove Luau?

In my opinion, the overall Polynesian Cultural Center experience is a much better value than the Paradise Cove experience. Why? Because it is so much more than a luau!

While you can get the same types of foods at both luaus, there are some differences in what their admissions come with.

Drinks: Paradise Cove does offer a welcome mai tai drink as well as bars with alcohol for purchase, while PCC has no alcohol, but offers punch, soft drinks, water, coffee, and tea.

Night Entertainment: The entertainment at Paradise Cove can be considered ‘better’ to some, as it has more traditional Polynesian acts compared to what you’ll get at PCC.

Activities: And while Paradise Cove does offer pre-dinner activities, PCC offers a whole afternoon filled with activities and shows (6 villages, canoe rides, a marketplace for shopping, and a movie theater).

All in all, I’d say if you’re looking for a more traditional evening luau, then go with Paradise Cove.

If you’re looking for a whole day of cultural immersion and entertainment that also happens to have a luau and an evening production (a show with a storyline that features lots of Polynesian dancing), go with Polynesian Cultural Center!

I hope you found this Polynesian Cultural Center review helpful! If you’re looking for more Oahu travel tips, you may also like:

What To Pack For A Week In Hawaii: 60 Essential Things To Bring

125 Bucket List Things To Do In Oahu, Hawaii

Go City Oahu Review: Is The Pass Worth The Money?

33 Fun and Free Family Activities In Oahu

Essential Oahu Tips For First Timers: Things You Need To Know

Oahu North Shore: 10 Stops For A Perfect Day Trip Itinerary

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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